|March 3, 2014|
Previously published on February 25, 2014
In a reversal of policy, Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection has essentially eliminated sponsorship caps for the subclass 457 visa program, effective February 14, 2014. Sponsorship caps were introduced for the subclass 457 visa program in July 2013.
Employers applying to become subclass 457 visa sponsors are still required to state the number of nominations they intend to request during their sponsorship period. The Department will not scrutinize the projections as closely as it had in the past, however. The Department will generally accept employers’ projections as a reasonable ceiling on the number of foreign workers a sponsor will require. Previously, the Department would closely review a company’s nomination prediction to determine whether it was reasonable based on the company’s size, its annual staff turnover, and the number of Australians it employs.
Additionally, a company will not lose its sponsorship status for later nominating more foreign workers than initially projected. In practice, this means that employers are no longer restricted in the number of nominations they can file during their sponsorship period.
The Department has not specified whether existing subclass 457 sponsors will remain subject to the nomination ceilings included in their sponsorship approvals. Fragomen is seeking clarification.
The change does not affect companies approved as Accredited Sponsors, as they were not subject to nomination ceilings.
What This Means for Employers
The elimination of sponsorship caps is a welcome development for businesses, and will give employers greater flexibility to handle unforeseen subclass 457 visa needs. However, employers should still take care to make accurate estimates of the number of subclass 457 visa holders they will require during their sponsorship period.